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Mary Midgleys Moral Isolationism - Essay Example

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 This essay discusses Mary Midgley’s moral isolationism. According to Mary Midgley, this is what moral isolationism is as it involves “the familiar position that respect and tolerance demand that members of one culture do not criticize other cultures”…
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Mary Midgleys Moral Isolationism
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Download file to see previous pages   To put it simply, because an outsider cannot understand other cultures, he or she does not have the right to make judgments about other cultures. Midgley disapproves of this stance as it creates a moral vacuum that tends to hinder one’s critical thinking faculties, “man’s main evolutionary asset” (36). Furthermore, moral isolationism is just another form of immoralism as it leans towards moral skepticism and the relativism of moral and ethical truths as it “lay[s] down a general ban on moral reasoning” (36).
Midgley’s argument against moral isolationism is five-fold. First, she presents the contradiction that moral isolationists demonstrate when they ask an outsider to show some respect and stop making judgments of other cultures because they simply cannot understand them due to the fact that they are foreigners. Midgley argues that “nobody can respect what is entirely unintelligible to them” (35). This poses the question that “if morals are applicable and legitimate only to one’s own culture as he or she cannot understand cultures other than his or her own, then how can one appropriately respect and tolerate cultures that he or she is not a member of?” Furthermore, it is a known fact that people have the capacity to understand other people, be they from different countries. And because cultures are made up of the people that create them and make them unique from others, how then can people not have the faculties to understand and respect other cultures; and consequently, to make favorable judgments on these different cultures?
Midgley’s second argument arises from the fact that throughout history, intelligent outsiders—anthropologists are a very good example—have made sense out of past civilizations and cultures that they were not members of.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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